Best American Express Credit Cards and Charge Cards

Abigail Welles

Abigail Welles

Updated Aug 29, 2019

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

American Express, one of the oldest and most widely recognized credit card companies, has a long history of serving consumers and businesses alike. Today it offers some of the best credit cards on the market, whether you’re new to credit or a veteran frequent flyer.

Below you’ll find a wide variety of personal credit cards and charge cards, with options ranging from basic everyday spending to luxury travel. Whether you want simple cash back or you love transferring points and looking for the best deals, you’ll find it with American Express.

Small business owner? Amex has cards for you too. Check out our overview of American Express business credit cards and charge cards.

Best for Charge Cards

You have three Amex consumer charge card offers to choose from. The main difference between charge cards and typical credit cards is that charge cards usually must be paid in full each billing period — you can’t revolve a balance from month to month. Other than that, you can use them pretty much like any other credit card.

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5X Membership Rewards points on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points on other eligible Amex Travel purchases
  • 1X Membership Rewards point on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
$550
(Rates & Fees)
American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent annually)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point on all other purchases
  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
$250
(Rates & Fees)
American Express® Green Card

  • 2X Membership Rewards points at Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for all other purchases
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$95, $0 the first year
The Centurion® Card from American Express, or the “Black Card,” is Amex’s legendary elite charge card, but you can’t just fill out an app for it. Instead, the chosen ones are invited to apply after proving their worth. Read more about the Centurion Card here.

 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

If American Express was a car, The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) would probably be the hood ornament. This is Amex’s premium travel card, and it comes with a suite of benefits focused on improving your airline and hotel experiences.

Most notable is probably the Global Lounge Collection, which provides the best airport lounge access you can get with a credit card. From Priority Pass to Delta Sky Clubs, you won’t be left eating vending machine peanuts when you’re stuck at the airport.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12%–24%

Key Features

  • Global Lounge Collection: Complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • $200 annual airline fee credit: Good for incidental costs like checked bags and in-flight food (not flight tickets) at your selected airline.
  • $200 annual Uber credits: $15 in statement credits for Uber rides each month, except for December which gets $35.
  • $100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years).
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like Delta, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hyatt.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $550

 

The Platinum card is all about travel, while the American Express® Gold Card (Review) splits the focus between travel and food (an excellent combination).

You’ll get bonus categories covering both eating out and eating in, as well as airlines, although hotels are conspicuously absent. Still, you’ll get annual credits that nearly offset the annual fee (Rates & Fees), plus a variety of useful perks.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent annually)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on Flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $350–$700 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 17.5%–35%

Key Features

  • $100 annual airline fee credit: Use this to pay for incidental airline fees, like baggage and in-flight food and drinks. Does not apply to flight tickets.
  • $120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month for purchases at eligible restaurants and food delivery services.
  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hilton.
  • The Hotel Collection: Provides up to $100 in credits for every eligible hotel stay of two nights or more.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $250

 

American Express® Green Card

Nobody talks much about the American Express® Green Card (Review), not even Amex. There isn’t much to say, other than that, with very few exceptions, nobody should apply for this card.

If you’re going to pay an annual fee for a credit card you can get much more for your money — consider one of the other charge cards above, which cost more but have credits which reduce their effective annual fees below that of the Green card. Or, if you’re just looking for Membership Rewards points, check out the point cards below.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases

Key Features

  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hilton.
  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra point opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Return Protection, Travel Accident Insurance, and more.
  • Annual fee: $95, $0 the first year

Best for Cash Back Rewards

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  •  3% cash back for:
    • Transit
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $250 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$95
(Rates & Fees)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • 3% cash back at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Select U.S. department stores
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$0
American Express Cash Magnet® Card

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $150 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$0

 

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) really packs a punch when it comes to groceries, with an industry-leading 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets. Amex recently made this card even better, expanding the bonus categories to include certain streaming services and transit.

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back for:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $250 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 25%

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find significant discounts at a changing selection of merchants and websites, like (at the time of publication) Wayfair, Squarespace, and select meal kits.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months (Rates & Fees)
  • Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 14.74–25.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $95

 

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) may earn less cash back than the Preferred version, but it also comes with no annual fee. So it could be perfect if your grocery bill isn’t very high and you don’t care about the other categories of the Preferred.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2% cash back at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 15%

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra point opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months
  • Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 25.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

 

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

If you tend to make a variety of purchases, or need a card to fill in the gaps between the bonus categories of your other credit cards, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card (Review) could be what you’re looking for. With the same flat rate for every purchase, you can use the Cash Magnet to earn decent rewards no matter where you shop.

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 15%

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months
  • Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 25.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Best for Point Rewards

The following cards offer Membership Rewards points, rather than cash back, making them a bit more travel-oriented. These points aren’t worth much when redeemed for statement credits, but you can find great value by transferring them to airline and hotel frequent traveler programs.

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

  • 3X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. gas stations and Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for all other purchases
  • 50% more points for making at least 30 purchases in a billing period
  • 15,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$95
Amex EveryDay Credit Card

  • 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually) and Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for all other purchases
  • 20% more points for making at least 20 purchases in a billing period
  • 10,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$0
Blue from American Express®

  • 2X Membership Rewards points at Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for every other purchase
$0

 

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card (Review) is designed for grocery and gas spending, with an interesting feature that boosts your rewards for using the card frequently. You’ll have to use the card quite a bit each billing period to get it, but if you can you’ll get a hefty 50% bonus to all the points earned in that period.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 50% point bonus: For making 30 or more purchases per billing period
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 15,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $150–$300 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–30%

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months
  • Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 14.99%–24.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $95

 

Amex EveryDay Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review) is the lesser version of the EveryDay Preferred above, offering fewer points per dollar and a smaller spending bonus. But in return there’s no annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about making the card pay for itself.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 20% point bonus: For making 20 or more purchases per billing period
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 10,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $100–$200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 10%–20%

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months
  • Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 14.99%–25.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

 

Blue from American Express®

The Blue from American Express® isn’t very exciting. It’s got no annual fee so it can be a free way to earn Membership Rewards points, but there are much better cards if you actually care about earning points.

If you’re looking to get a lot out of your rewards card, another option would be a better fit.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra cash back opportunities at a changing selection of merchants.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Annual fee: $0

Best for Co-Branded Airline Cards

Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

  • 7X SkyMiles at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles from the card
    • 5X miles from Delta member status
  • 1X SkyMile for every other purchase
  • 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
$450
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 7X SkyMiles at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles from the card
    • 5X miles from Delta member status
  • 1X SkyMile for every other purchase
  • 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
$195
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 7X SkyMiles at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles from the card
    • 5X miles from Delta member status
  • 1X SkyMile for every other purchase
  • 30,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
(Rates & Fees)
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 7X SkyMiles at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles from the card
    • 5X miles from Delta member status
  • 2X SkyMiles at Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile for all other purchases
  • 10,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months
$0
(Rates & Fees)

 

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is Delta’s premium card, with a high annual fee and several valuable airline perks, chief among them being lounge access and a companion certificate. You may want to consider the other Delta cards before springing for this one though, as the increased fee may not come with much extra value for many cardholders.

Spending Rewards
  • 7X SkyMiles per dollar at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
    • 5X miles per dollar from Delta member status
  • 1X mile per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value (miles): $750–$1,125 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend (miles): 15%–22.5%

 Key Features

  • Delta Sky Club membership: Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $29 each
  • Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight
  • Miles Boost: Spend $30,000 in a given year to earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs; spend $60,000 to earn an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs.
  • Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding
  • Priority Checkpoint on Delta flights: Access the Sky Priority security lane at participating airports
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

 

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Review) is one of the mid-tier Delta cards, with solid airline perks and a great introductory bonus.

Using this card could be a good way to see if the Delta Reserve would be worth it for you — if you find yourself wanting more, you may want to upgrade. (Or start with the Reserve on its own, which has a higher introductory bonus. If you find you’re not getting your money’s worth, you could consider downgrading to one of the other Delta cards with a lower annual fee.)

Spending Rewards
  • 7X miles per dollar at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
    • 5X miles per dollar from Delta member status
  • 1X mile per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value (miles): $350–$525 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend (miles): 35%–52.5%
  • $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Delta Sky Club airport lounge access: Discounted lounge access for you and two guests, at $29 per person
  • Annual companion certificate at account anniversary: Valid for domestic Main Cabin round-trip tickets
  • Miles Boost: Spend $25,000 in a given year to earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs; spend $50,000 to earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $195

 

If you’re not ready to go for one of the more expensive Delta cards, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express might serve you well. You won’t get any premium airline benefits, but you can enjoy the convenience of a free checked bag, priority boarding, and savings on in-flight purchases.

Spending Rewards
  • 7X SkyMiles per dollar at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
    • 5X miles per dollar from Delta member status
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 30,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $300–$450 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 30%–45%
  • $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months after account opening

Key Features

  • Delta Sky Club airport lounge access: Discounted lounge access for you and two guests, at $29 per person
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

 

The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express doesn’t have much to recommend it, but since it has no annual fee (Rates & Fees), it could be a good downgrade option if you have one of the other Delta cards but won’t use it anymore.

You won’t get much in the way of airline benefits, only a 20% statement credit for in-flight purchases. But there are a few other features provided by Amex.

Spending Rewards
  • 7X SkyMiles per dollar at Delta Air Lines
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
    • 5X miles per dollar from Delta member status
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar at Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 10,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $100–$150 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 20%–30%

Key Features

  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Annual fee: $0 (Rates & Fees)

Best for Co-Branded Hotel Cards

Card Annual Fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • 18.5X Marriott Bonvoy points at Marriott Bonvoy properties
    • 6X Bonus points from the card
    • 12.5X Base points for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 3X Bonus points for:
    • Flights booked directly from airlines
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 2X Bonus points for all other purchases
  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
$450
Hilton Honors Aspire Card

  • 34X Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties
    • 14X Bonus points from the card
    • 20X Base Points for Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • 7X Bonus points on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Bonus points on all other purchases
  • 150,000 Bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
$450
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 30X Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties
    • 12X Bonus points from the card
    • 18X Base points for Hilton Honors Gold status
  • 6X Bonus points at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points for all other purchases
  • 125,000 Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
$95
(Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • 19X Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties
    • 7X Bonus points from the card
    • 12X Base points for Hilton Honors Silver status
  • 5X Bonus points at:
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Bonus points for all other purchases
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
$0
(Rates & Fees)

 

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Frequent Marriott Bonvoy residents will love the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Review). With a free night every year, Gold Elite status, airport lounge access, and several credits to offset the fee, this is one of the most valuable hotel cards on the market.

Spending Rewards
  • 18.5X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 12.5X Base points per dollar for Marriott Gold Elite status
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for:
    • Flights booked directly from airlines
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.8–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 20%–50%

Key Features

  • $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy hotel credit: Up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases
  • Free Night Award: Every year after your account anniversary you’ll get a Free Night Award, good for redemption values of 50,000 points or fewer.
  • Complimentary Gold Elite hotel status: Includes perks like a 25% bonus on base points, 2 p.m. late checkout, and more
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Free access to Priority Pass airport lounges for you and up to two guests (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every four years
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each year you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits towards a higher member status.
  • $100 property credit: Earn up to $100 in property credits when booking at least two nights direct with a special rate code at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

 

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Card membership will run you $450 per year, but the Hilton Honors Aspire Card will provide the most Hilton Honors points out of all the Amex Hilton cards, not only from the card but from your elite hotel status. You’ll also get some useful credits and free stays that could completely offset the annual fee — and then some — if you travel enough every year.

Spending Rewards
  • 34X Hilton Honors points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 14X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 20X Base points per dollar from your member status
  • 7X Bonus points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 150,000 Bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–37.5%

Key Features

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status: Includes a 100% bonus on Base points earned, room upgrades to suites when available, executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee, and more
  • Annual free Weekend Night Award: One free night every year, and earn another free weekend night by spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit: Good for every eligible stay of two nights or more, valid for incidental fees only
  • Annual $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • Annual $250 airline fee statement credit: For incidental fees only
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Free access to Priority Pass airport lounges for you and up to two guests (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

 

As the mid-tier Amex Hilton card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Review) won’t weigh down your wallet but it will help you earn quite a lot of Hilton points. You’ll get an upgraded hotel member status and Priority Pass lounge access, but you’ll have to spend quite a bit each year to earn any free night stays.

Spending Rewards
  • 30X Hilton Honors points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 12X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 18X Base points per dollar for Hilton Honors Gold status
  • 6X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 125,000 Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,250 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 25%–62.5%

Key Features

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status: Includes an 80% point bonus, room upgrades when available, complimentary breakfasts, and more
  • Limited Priority Pass Select membership: 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges per year; additional visits cost $32 per person
  • Annual Weekend Night Award: For spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $95

 

Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn’t offer much, but it could be useful for the occasional Hilton stay.

Card members get automatic Hilton Honors Silver status, but if you won’t travel too much or tend to stay at a variety of hotels we’d recommend going with a general travel rewards card instead, one that isn’t co-branded with a particular hotel brand.

Spending Rewards
  • 19X Hilton Honors points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 7X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 12X Base points per dollar for Hilton Honors Silver status
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Bonus points for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $300–$750 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 30%–75%

Key Features

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status: Includes a 20% point bonus, late checkout, two free bottles of water, and more
  • Fast track to Gold status: Spend $20,000 in a calendar year to earn Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $0

American Express Card Features

American Express extends a selection of additional features for most of its cards. Check your specific card’s details online or in the accompanying Guide to Benefits to learn which features you can take advantage of.

  • Amex Offers: Most Amex rewards cards come with Amex Offers, a handy shopping portal that can extend the usefulness of your card. You’ll get a selection of discounts and extra reward opportunities at a wide variety of merchants, with new offers about once a month.
  • ShopRunner membership: Many Amex cards come with a ShopRunner subscription, which provides free two-day shipping and returns at a growing selection of online retailers.
  • Membership Rewards points: Some Amex cards earn Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to over a dozen airline and hotel frequent traveler programs. Save your points until you can cash them in for a high value, like two cents per point or more, to maximize your rewards cards.
  • A bevy of travel perks: Some Amex travel cards come with airline and hotel credits, elite hotel statuses, memberships with car rental agencies, and access to travel planning services to create custom itineraries for your trips. Certain cards also come with The Hotel Collection and the Fine Hotels & Resorts program for additional perks.
  • Wide-ranging lounge access: The Platinum cards (personal and business), along with the Amex Black Card, provide the best airport lounge access in the credit card game with Amex’s Global Lounge Collection. Lounges include Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta Sky Club, Airspace, Escape, and more.
  • Shopping protections: Depending on the card, you may get purchase protection, return protection, and/or extended warranty.
  • Travel protections: These may include travel insurances like car rental insurance, a baggage insurance plan, and travel accident insurance, plus roadside assistance and a global assistance hotline.
  • Alternate ways to pay: Some Amex cards come with the Pay Over Time or Pay It Plan It features, which provide different payment plans that could be useful in some cases.
  • Year-End Summary: Download a convenient summary of all your charges for the previous calendar year, available as a PDF, Excel, or CSV file.

A Brief History of American Express

Founded in 1850 in Buffalo, New York, the American Express company began as a freight-centered business that competed with the U.S. Postal Service. During this beginning phase in Amex’s history, it was most trusted with transporting valuables between consumers as well as businesses.

Its journey to the brand we know today began between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After thriving from its freight-forwarding business, American Express introduced new services catering towards personal financial services, and in the 1950s the company introduced its first charge card. This marked the start of Amex’s passion for providing its customers with unique cards for a wide swath of lifestyles and needs.

An American Express Order and Commission Department, approx. 1878. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution

An American Express Order and Commission Department, approx. 1878. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution

A Traveler’s Company, and a Ticket Home During World War I

In the beginning, American Express focused on establishing business-to-business connections in order to help companies safely deliver merchandise to each other. To help support existing customers who found themselves traveling frequently for work, it introduced the Traveler’s Cheque in 1891.

The American Express Traveler’s Cheque. Image credit: American Express

The American Express Traveler’s Cheque. Image credit: American Express

This was inspired by James Fargo, the president of Amex at the time, who was unable to cash checks while overseas in Europe. An employee of his, Marcellus Berry, created a travel-specific model that required a signature to be cashed abroad. Eventually, the company opened its first international office in Paris to further support overseas travelers.

When the First World War began, 150,000 Americans found themselves stranded overseas. But holders of American Express Traveler’s Cheques were able to cash them in and get home safely with their belongings.

American Express’ First Charge Card

Nearly 40 years past the end of WW1 and a decade following WW2, American Express launched its first charge card in 1958 to provide both security and flexibility for those trying to navigate the growing economy. Upon its launch it had 250,000 cardholders, and 17,500 companies signed on to use it. This new card was available in both the U.S. and Canada.

The first American Express personal charge card, introduced in 1958. Image credit: American Express

The first American Express personal charge card, introduced in 1958. Image credit: American Express

Just a bit later in 1959, American Express became one of the first major credit card companies to issue a plastic credit card.

Global Expansion

In the 1970s, Amex began international card-issuing relationships in both South America and Europe. This was especially important to the growth of its business-centered customer base, as international partnerships offered more financial support to growing and established businesses with their hands overseas.

As the company entered the latter decades of the 20th century, it began to create unique programs for its travel-focused customers. It launched Membership Rewards (originally named Membership Miles) in 1991 to help customers earn card-based rewards and get the most out of the money they spend everyday.

Continuing to Innovate

In modern times, Amex has developed several community outreach initiatives to spur economic growth in addition to the vast variety of cards and services it now offers. One of the most well-known American Express initiatives is its “Small Business Saturday,” which was launched in 2010 and most notably gained momentum under the catchy slogan, “Shop Small.”

The first Shop Small Saturday event in 2010. Image credit: American Express

One of the first Shop Small Saturday events in 2010. Image credit: American Express

In addition to fostering consumerism amongst local businesses, Amex also has a history of providing assistance when natural disasters strike to help provide some stability for those affected. It also offers grants to community service programs to help fund their causes.

Looking for credit cards from other card issuers? You’ll find a wide variety of excellent options in our picks for the Best Credit Cards.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Was this helpful?
  • Waris Malik

    Thank you for sharing the detailed analysis on american express credit card with full terms and conditions.
    Need a Credit Card

The Insider

Abigail Welles
How to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud: Scams, Skimmers, and Phishing
Abigail Welles | Sep 20, 2019

Do you know what a credit card skimmer is? You may have swiped your card through one without even knowing, leaving your information in the hands of a thief.

Read More
Jacob Lunduski
2019 Survey: 40% of Retail Store Credit Cardholders Regret Applying
Jacob Lunduski | Sep 19, 2019

Do you have a retail store credit card? Is it useful, or do you get hit with interest and fees? Learn why so many people regret getting store cards here.

Read More
Abigail Welles
What Is a Data Breach and What Should I Do If I Am a Victim of One?
Abigail Welles | Sep 17, 2019

Data breaches are more common than ever, exposing the confidential information of millions of Americans each year. Have you been involved in a breach?

Read More